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Discovering the Unknown Landscape: A History of America's Wetlands
     

Discovering the Unknown Landscape: A History of America's Wetlands

by Ann Vileisis, Ann Vilesis
 

ISBN-10: 155963314X

ISBN-13: 9781559633147

Pub. Date: 09/01/1997

Publisher: Island Press

<p>The rapidly disappearing wetlands that once spread so abundantly across the American continent serve an essential and irreplaceable ecological function. Yet for centuries, Americans have viewed them with disdain. Beginning with the first European settlers, we have thought of them as sinkholes of disease and death, as landscapes that were worse than useless

Overview

<p>The rapidly disappearing wetlands that once spread so abundantly across the American continent serve an essential and irreplaceable ecological function. Yet for centuries, Americans have viewed them with disdain. Beginning with the first European settlers, we have thought of them as sinkholes of disease and death, as landscapes that were worse than useless unless they could be drained, filled, paved or otherwise "improved." As neither dry land, which can be owned and controlled by individuals, nor bodies of water, which are considered a public resource, wetlands have in recent years been at the center of controversy over issues of environmental protection and property rights.<p>The confusion and contention that surround wetland issues today are the products of a long and convoluted history. In Discovering the Unknown Landscape, Anne Vileisis presents a fascinating look at that history, exploring how Americans have thought about and used wetlands from Colonial times through the present day. She discusses the many factors that influence patterns of land use-ideology, economics, law, perception, art-and examines the complicated interactions among those factors that have resulted in our contemporary landscape. As well as chronicling the march of destruction, she considers our seemingly contradictory tradition of appreciating wetlands: artistic and literary representations, conservation during the Progressive Era, and recent legislation aimed at slowing or stopping losses.<p>Discovering the Unknown Landscape is an intriguing synthesis of social and environmental history, and a valuable examination of how cultural attitudes shape the physical world that surrounds us. It provides important context to current debates, and clearly illustrates the stark contrast between centuries of beliefs and policies and recent attempts to turn those longstanding beliefs and policies around. Vileisis's clear and engaging prose provides a new and compelling understanding of modern-day environmental conflicts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559633147
Publisher:
Island Press
Publication date:
09/01/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
445
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.34(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
 
Chapter 1. A Landscape on the Periphery
Chapter 2. A Mosaic of Native Swamps, Bogs, and Marshes
Chapter 3. A Nation Founded on Wetlands
Chapter 4. Exploring the Unknown Landscape
Chapter 5. The Drainage Imperative Codified
Chapter 6. Wetlands Portrayed and Envisioned
Chapter 7. Machines in the Wetland Gardens
Chapter 8. New Voices for the Wetlands
Chatper 9. The Double Agenda
Chapter 10. In the Path of the Boom
Chapter 11. Citizens and Lawmakers Enlist in the Wetlands Cause
Chapter 12. Federal Bulldozers and Draglines
Chapter 13. With New Tools in Hand
Chapter 14. The Reagan Agenda Challenges Wetland Gains
Chapter 15. Making and Breaking the Farm Connection
Chapter 16. A Contentious Era for Wetlands
Chapter 17. The Promise of Restoration
Chapter 18. The Lessons of History
 
Notes
Appendix - Some Common And Scientific Names Of Wetland Plants
Acknowledgments
Index

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